Since it is a fact that those people with special needs do face many more challenges in their lives than other people, the possibility of technological assistance for them must be given extreme importance, and when this is done, the device can be acquired. Sometimes, when the assistive device has been provided for the person, like for example a child who attends school, by the school itself, then the issue would be whether or not the child can be allowed to use the device at home. This is especially true in cases where the assisted device is something that would enable the child to finish his homework on time, without which he would not be able to do it. (Providing Assistive Technology: A Legal Perspective)
The concerned ARD committee must use its discretion for such cases, because, mot of the time, the parent may insist that his child is not able to complete his school work at home because he has now come to depend on the assistive device to help him, and when it is left behind at school, he finds it extremely difficult to cope. To quote an example, the case of 'Abiel G. Vs. Laredo Independent School District', of August 18, 1997, was about the provision of a desktop computer and also an Alpha Smart Data Processor for a child of eight by the School. The parents, however, did not think that these devices were sufficient for the child, and put forth a demand that the school must provide him with a laptop for him to use when at home. The Court decided that a laptop was too fragile an instrument for a child of eight to use, and therefore, the child was not given the assistive device to use at home. (Providing Assistive Technology: A Legal Perspective)
Assistive technology devices to be used at home also include, among others, several self-help aids that the individual can use at home to help him in his various activities like eating, bathing, cooking, dressing, toileting, the maintenance of his home, and so on. Persons with difficulty with communication can use electronic as well as non-electronic devices that would enable them to communicate better with other people associated with them. A computer that would work as an assistive device is an extremely important and useful tool for those who have any type of disabilities, and one example of this is the various input and output devices available for such people, like speech recognition software, Braille, touch screens, and so on. Various modes of electronic assistive devices would help those persons with limited mobility to go about their tasks within their own homes, and some of them are home appliances, and security aids. (What is Assistive Technology?)
In addition, home or workplace modifications and adaptations can also be done for these people, so that they may be able to move around within their own familiar surroundings without much difficulty. Some of these devices are ramps, lifts, and any modifications in the bathrooms and toilets, which would be immensely beneficial to them, because not only would the very real physical barriers be reduced, but they would also be able to move freely. Those individuals who have lost a limb or who cannot use a particular body part for any reason, can be fitted with prosthetics, which is in effect, an augmentation or a substitution or a replacement of lost body parts, which would help them to move around, and orthotics, which are aids that would help these disabled individuals to use their limbs to a certain extent, like for example, braces on the legs, or splints on their feet or hands, and so on.
If the person were suffering from cognitive limitations, then audiotapes and pagers that would remind the individual would prove to be useful. Sometimes, certain modifications and changes can be carried out on the wheelchair of the disabled person, so that he may have better upper body or trunk or head support, whichever was desired. Some other devices can change the pressure on the skin surface of the person, so that he may be able to sit or lie down with greater comfort. At times, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides a guide dog for the visually impaired, a signal dog for the deaf, and any other trained dog for persons with any other difficulties. These dogs would aid and guide the individuals both within their home environment as well as in their workplaces, and would prove to be extremely useful to disabled persons. (What is Assistive Technology?)
Assistive technology, therefore, will prove to be beneficial to those people who suffer from any type of disability, and would go a long way towards making their lives more comfortable at home, and their lives more productive and useful when outside their homes.
Ability Hub: Frequently Asked Questions" Retrieved at http://www.abilityhub.com/. Accessed on 8 July, 2005